By: Simon B
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Reporting an accident
Unless the incident is a minor prang, call the police. The police don’t have to turn up if no one is injured and there’s not much damage. In most cases, it is advisable to speak to the police. If they do turn up, they’ll want all the details of the drivers, vehicles, and the owners of the vehicles (if they weren’t driving). They’ll ask for all relevant documents, such as licences, registration documents, insurance, and MOT certificates. If you don’t have these items with you, you’ll have to take them to a police station within seven days.
The police may ask for statements from everyone. Bear in mind that copies of anything you say will be sent to all the insurance companies involved and if any legal action is taken, you could say something that incriminates you later. You don’t have to make a statement there and then, but you do have to give your name and address.
Write everything down: the registration of any other cars involved or that may have contributed to causing an accident; the names and addresses of other drivers and witnesses; and insurance details of the other drivers. Read more on what to do here: https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-insurance/if-youre-in-an-accident
The cars shouldn’t be moved until a sketch has been made of the accident site showing where each car involved came to rest. The police normally do this sketch when they arrive at the scene. If they don’t show up, do it yourself or take photos. Show all the road signs, road widths, the damage to the vehicles, and weather conditions. Don’t leave anything to memory. You have just been in an accident, which is stressful, so you’re likely to forget important details.
If the police didn’t arrive at the accident scene, report it as soon as possible, but definitely within 24 hours. If you don’t, your licence can be endorsed for failing to report an accident. You have to report the accident in person at a police station rather than over the phone. The only circumstances in which an accident doesn’t need to be reported to the police is one in which no one was injured, and everyone gave all their particulars, including their insurance details, to anyone else involved who was entitled to ask for it.
As soon as you can, write a full description of what happened from your point of view and call your insurance company. Check your insurance policy. Most say that any accident, no matter how minor, should be reported to the company within seven days. If you don’t contact your insurance company within the time limit on the policy, you may find yourself without insurance for that particular accident and for any later ones.
Even if you’re not making a claim on your insurance policy for repairs to a damaged vehicle or for injuries and no one else is claiming against you, you must let your insurance company know it happened. If you don’t and your insurers find out at a later date, they may refuse to pay out on any future claims.
If you’re driving a hire car, you must let the car hire company know as soon as possible. If you’re insured through the car-hire firm, it will deal with the accident through its insurers.